updated 11/1/2005 2:51:59 PM ET 2005-11-01T19:51:59

A British man was sentenced to four years in jail Tuesday for masterminding a "phishing" fraud which stole identities and bank details from customers of the eBay auction site.

Prosecutors said David Levi, 29, of Lytham, England, led a six-man gang that stole nearly 200,000 pounds (US$360,000) from more than 160 people. They sent e-mails to eBay customers, pretending to be from eBay, asking for bank details.

Other gang members were sentenced to jail terms ranging from six months to two years.

"This was a coordinated and sophisticated fraud which took place over a 12-month period which required a determined and calculated approach," said Judge Phillip Sycamore, presiding in Preston Crown Court.

"A large number of people lost a significant amount of money, and it is quite apparent that the use of a fraudulent eBay site was quite sophisticated," Sycamore said.

Levi, who was already serving a sentence for drug offenses, was sentenced three years for fraud and one year for perverting the course of justice, to be served consecutively.

His brother Guy Levi, 22, was jailed for 21 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud.

Daniel Lett, 22, was sentenced to two years for conspiracy to defraud.

Derek Anderson, 59, Chris Worden, 23, Craig Jameson, 31, and Gareth Rice, 22, were each jailed for six months on money laundering charges.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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